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Planning for Remodeling
Remodeling to Keep Value in Home
Selling a Home After Loss of a Job
Showing the Open House
Remodeling to Keep Value in Home
by Dr. Oneida Cramer
Remodeling maximizes the value of a home when it strengthens the home?s harmony of style. If the new addition fulfills the needs of the family and retains the integrity of the property, the remodeled home will most likely achieve its full investment value at the time of resale. On the other hand, substandard remodeling may actually decrease a home?s potential value if the result looks very tacky, according to Marsha Finey at Ebby Halliday Realtors.
Homeowners in the past have often converted garages into extra bedrooms or living room space and enclosed the outside patios. But the typical walled glass enclosure on a patio conversion usually makes an awkward transition with the brick and window exterior on the rest of the house, according to Finey. And taking to step down from the wood floor on a pier and beam house onto the slab foundation in a room converted from a garage almost always feels and looks substandard. Then, when it?s time to sell the house, homeowners can use only half the square footage from the original garage to calculate the dollar per square foot value for their remodeled home. Plus, the absence of a garage puts the house at a disadvantage.
?Understand, if a garage conversion is done correctly so the foundation matches and the level of the floors are all matching, and it sits in the house in a place where the floor plan makes sense, then go ahead and do it. Then add another garage out in the back of the house and have it be maybe a rear entry from the alley or somewhere,? said Finey. ?I?m not saying that (garage conversions) can?t be done in a good way. It?s just so seldom done.?
?Your house is such a big investment, I?d get an architect and have him come up with some kind of a rough sketch of how you could add the space, making sure it?s consistent with the rest of the house in materials, foundation, window styles, things of that nature, so that it?s not awkward, so that it will be a positive addition that makes sense,? said Finey.
Most laymen can?t visualize how to change an existing property to achieve optimum utilization of space with minimum expense, said architect, Frank Meyer of FLM Associates. So talking to an architect can help a homeowner develop an overall plan for the house including a list of everything priced out to avoid overspending the budget.
?Be careful about overbuilding for your neighborhood,? said Meyer and Finey, who recommends that homeowners determine if the costs to be added on the home would put the total invested in the house above the selling price range of the other homes in the area. If so, you might be better off just finding another house.
So many properties are under new construction or remodeling that home economists are predicting by the year 2010, every house in University Park will be either remodeled or torn down with another house built in its place, according to Robert Beazley, owner of Above It All Construction.
So, what are the most popular trends in remodeling??
?Now days on resale, some people are actually converting it (remodeled space) back to a garage,? said Beazley. ?People do want garages right now.? They want a place to put their cars and the storage space that?s in the garage. At the same time, people with detached garages are leveling these garages, pouring new foundations, and building two-story garages with a second floor often made into a game room.
Second floor additions over a garage attached to the home are also popular choices for remodeling existing two-story homes, according to Meyer. And often, the addition is made on the back of the house; tearing off the back half of the roof and building a second floor is especially popular in houses between 1200 and 1500 square feet, according to Beazley. Homeowners are also putting on whole new second floors.
Generally, home additions are going up, not out, which does not take much space away from the backyard. Many homeowners also want to retain the front yard, curb appeal of their homes, especially houses built in the 1920?s and 30?s with large gables and a cottage appearance on the outside but with a surprisingly spacious feeling on the inside because of the remodeling.
In North Dallas, where many pier and beam homes have adequate square footage to accommodate most families, homeowners are not remodeling for more space. Instead, they are redesigning the bathrooms making them contemporary with marble or ceramic tiles, glass showers, and Jacuzzi tubs. They?re taking up carpet and refinishing the existing hardwood floors. And they?re updating the kitchens with an island, new ovens, stoves, sinks, and countertop space. In fact, kitchens and master baths are the two most popular ways of remodeling, today.
By and large, remodeling is less expensive than rebuilding in the Park Cities and north Dallas area, where home building costs average from $130 to $300 a square foot?a price quote that includes demolishing an existing house, buying land, and building a new house and remodeling an existing home costs from $55 to $155 per square foot, according to Beazley. The lower cost range (between $55 and $75) holds for redoing the inside of a room; the jump up in costs to $155 usually involves add on plumbing, tying in a sewage system, and pouring slab for a new room. Also, a pier and beam house, where access to underground plumbing is easy, incurs less expense than a slab foundation house when the job involves tearing up the concrete foundation, according to Meyer.
Homeowners of all ages undertake remodeling and reconfiguring their houses to suit their changing needs, according to Meyer. Some additional features to consider including in remodeling are electrical networking for computers, home theatres, new appliances, up-dated windows, and provisions for the handicapped and elderly. Simple things like making doorways wide enough for a walker or wheelchair and keeping strategic rooms on one level to reduce travel on stairs require careful planning at the beginning. In the long run, a well designed home can add longevity to the life of the home for the existing family and make the home more attractive to potential buyers.
Dr. Oneida Cramer
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